SOURCE: Web Wise Kids

Web Wise Kids

October 01, 2009 10:23 ET

Web Wise Kids Urges Passage of Historic Child Internet Safety Legislation Before House Judiciary Committee

Leading Internet Safety Education Group Calls for Funding to Schools to Teach Children How to Safely Use Internet and Mobile Technologies

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - October 1, 2009) - Web Wise Kids CEO Judi Westberg-Warren testified yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee expressing strong support for the Adolescent Web Awareness Requires Education Act (AWARE Act, H.R. 3222).

Sponsored by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Congressman John Culberson (R-TX), the bill would provide critical resources to America's educational infrastructure to train educators in online risk prevention and empower students and parents with hands-on opportunities to use technology safely and ethically. The bipartisan legislation is a companion measure to S. 1047, introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in May of this year.

"Web Wise Kids strongly believes that Internet safety education is the most effective way to resolve and mitigate problems and dangers relating to misuse of the Internet and other new media," said Westberg-Warren. "Education builds lessons for a lifetime. Congress can have an immediate and effective impact by providing greater resources to promote Internet safety education in our schools and prevent harm from occurring in the first place."

The AWARE Act would establish a competitive Internet safety education grant program for state and local education agencies and non-profit organizations to promote the safe use of digital technologies. The grants also would provide much-needed professional development training to educators so they have tools to teach children how to safely use the Internet.

Web Wise Kids' Westberg-Warren was joined at the hearing by other witnesses, including Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez -- and was the only representative of the Internet safety education community invited to testify.

"As legislators, we have to get real. We must accept that our kids spend more time online than in front of the television," said Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz. "We must usher in a new era of Internet safety education and cyber crime awareness. Instead of preventing our children from using the Internet, or criminalizing speech online that would be permissible on the playground, we must instead teach children how to be good cyber citizens."

About Web Wise Kids

Web Wise Kids is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing online child victimization by providing innovative tools to assist youth to stay safe online. Web Wise Kids implements interactive Internet safety programs nationwide in conjunction with school systems, law enforcement, teachers, community-based youth organizations, technology companies and others. Since its founding in 2000, Web Wise Kids programs have reached nearly seven million children and one million parents nationwide. For more information, visit www.webwisekids.org.

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